One of the first things I learned in Oxford is that my subject area, art history in the U.S. is known as the history of art (HOA) here - if you say "art history" they surely understand what you mean but it takes them a minute to realize it. So I'm starting to use "history of art," well really "HOA," instead.
Today I had my first meeting with my tutor, Yu Ping. Yu Ping is a graduate student in the HOA Department. As an undergrad she studied Western art history but her research focus now is imperial patronage of art in early modern China. My tutorial topic is early modern court culture which means I'll be studying the art and history of the [royal] courts of Europe from about 1500-1750 or so. It should be quite interesting. Basically we meet once a week for 8 weeks - we meet on Fridays at 11am in the History of Art Faculty. Each week I am to produce an essay based on assigned readings. The best part is that Yu Ping isn't like most Oxford tutors with her reading lists. Most give students a list of 15 or so books each week, some you have to read others are "recommended," and a very general topic. Yu Ping only requires about 100 pages of reading per week which she has carefully selected. She also recommends essay topics each week but we are free to write about anything relevant to the reading. Basically when I told this to the other Americans here in Oxford they weren't too happy with me, they all have much, much more reading to do each week. My first essay is rather easy. I read a few general readings about court culture, pick two images then write a paper on them (introduction, formal analysis, contextual analysis, compare/contrast, conclude). The goal of this paper is for Yu Ping to see how familiar we are with art history and to see how we write. Yes, I did say "we," there is one other person in my tutorial. Her name is Ashley and she is a history student from Yale. It will be interesting to have an art history tutorial with a history student as she will surely bring different material to the discussion.